The 2013-14 awards: Sepp in Brazil; Richard Scudamore; pitch of the year; and Ronaldinho. Photographs: Getty Images, WireImage.
Man of the season
Sepp, staying strong in October. “There are not many names the media haven’t thrown at me in the last few years. I would be lying to you if I said it did not hurt. You ask yourself: ‘What have I done?'”
Football family awards
The season’s highlights:
• Best inquiry: Sepp, November, uneasy with the one-eyed press coverage of Qatar’s slave state problem. “My grandmother always said a clock rings ding and dong, not ding-ding-ding. You have to listen to ding and to dong, and for now I only hear ding.” His plan to resolve it: meeting the Emir. “I will go there, and listen to the dong.”
• Best endorsement, September: “The work Fifa do is noble. Unlike many other associations that proclaim nice, well-intentioned goals, they work to realise them. This has no precedent in humanitarian spheres.” – Vladimir Putin.
• Plus: most patient – Trinidad’s Jack Warner, out of football since 2011, but still being hassled. Jack said new bribery claims in March were press “foolishness“, a repeat of 2010’s “BBC foolishness” and 2012’s “damn foolish” rumours of an FBI inquiry. Jack’s overall view: “Allegations are made every day, every week, every year. I’m not interested in that.”
Best staying power
Richard Scudamore, standing his ground, two years after he co-launched the Premier League equality drive by signing off on a personal pledge to impose “equality monitoring”, “an explicit equalities theme”, combat “offensive and insulting language”, “encourage the formal reporting of incidents”, and to “widen the diversity of football’s workforce”.
October: Rangers – running up a new £14.4m loss a year after liquidation; and ex-Rangers chief executive Charles Green – spending his £933,000 pay deal on an 18th-century château in Normandy. Green told Ouest France: “This is where I start my new life. It’s as if the castle said: ‘Buy me’.”
Best image management
November: Barcelona – keeping their brand ethos intact with an extended Unicef shirt deal. Offsetting the €1.5m it cost Barça to keep the anti-modern slavery “Unicef” logo on the back of the shirts, the €96m Qatar paid to sponsor the front.
Vincent Tan and Assem Allam – helping football move on from Venky’s. Allam explained in September he planned to change “Hull City” to “Hull Tigers” because it’s “shorter”: “No one on earth may question my business decisions.”
The season’s best moves:
• Brazil, 19 Aug: São Paulo vice-president João Paulo de Jesus Lopes on rumours about coach Paulo Autuori. “He stays. Even you journalists should be able to see how he is evolving this club. Whatever the results, he stays.” 10 Sept: He goes.
• Portugal, Sept: Coach José Zé Nuno Azevedo reacts to Vilaverdense sacking him by calling the police. Local media say Azevedo initially left the training ground, “then returned with the National Guard to demand a pay-off”.
• Italy, 4 Sept: Palermo owner Maurizio Zamparini attacks reports that he plans to sack new coach Gennaro Gattuso. “In Serie B you need patience.” 9 Sept: “Certain journalists just assume I’ll sack him. I’ve not even thought about it.” 20 Sept: “These journalists only want to hurt this club, hurt the fans, hurt the team, hurt the staff.” 24 Sept: “It’s lies.” 25 Sept: Sacks him.
• Brazil, 19 Sept: Ricardo Silva returns to manage ASA de Arapiraca, two months after being dismissed. “The board asked me to come back and I accepted. There’s no problem between us – that’s football. They now want us to turn the club round together.” 2 Oct: They sack him again.
• Brazil, April: Atlético-MG president Alexandre Kalil, taking responsibility for the bad press that followed his decision to invade a pitch and call a referee a “thieving son of a bitch gangster” – sacking coach Paulo Autuori for “poor performance”.
June, Italy: Genoa president Enrico Preziosi – sorry for kicking a photographer and smashing his camera. “I apologised, I’m paying for the camera. Would I do it again? Yes.”
Services to diversity
September, Peru: Huancayo coach Marcelo Trobbiani reacts after three Brazilian players alleged “discrimination and disrespect” against him: “They must stop complaining. They sound like fags.” Huancayo president Edgar Araníbar: “There’s no discrimination here.”
November, Romania: Ex-Vaslui owner Adrian Porumboiu trading corruption claims with Astra’s Dinu Gheorghe. Porumboiu: “He is nobody, a shit talker, a snorter.” Gheorghe: “He’s a peasant, a good for nothing jerk.” Astra owner Ioan Niculae: “Porumboiu’s a shameless bastard.” League head Gino Iorgulescu: “This runs contrary to my respect agenda.”
Romania: Gigi Becali – still running Steaua Bucharest from prison, but looking ahead to his new future on the outside. “I will still be a lion, but a tame lion. A steady, kind lion – no scratching, no biting, no barking at all.”
• Best club loving: 19 Dec, Kostas Mitroglou, signing a new three-year deal at Olympiakos: “I’m so happy to renew once again at this, the club of my heart. I want to thank the president, who, from the first moment he embraced me, showed me the way. This is a family, a proud and glorious family, and I for one promise to give everything to make our fans happy.” 31 Jan: Joins Fulham.
• Best hands-off warning: 29 Jan, Lazio president Claudio Lotito on Inter’s interest in Hernanes. “We hold him tight. We have not sold Hernanes and we are not going to sell Hernanes.” 31 Jan: Sells Hernanes.
Full list of awards on The Guardian…